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The Boston Globe


Science in Mind

Assessing risks, and responsibilities, of predictions

Last fall, a former government official and six Italian scientists were found guilty of manslaughter in a trial centered on information they provided about risk just before the 2009 L’Aquila earthquake. The ruling sent waves of alarm through the scientific community, sparking concerns that researchers around the world could be held accountable for giving governments advice about natural disasters, which are inherently unpredictable.

Last week at the MIT Museum, a panel including an Italian architect, a seismologist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a specialist in dispute resolution from Harvard Law School discussed what happened in Italy and its ripple effects.

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